All That In April
With the temperature on the rise outside, hinting at the summer months ahead, so too is the buzz around what's new in arts and culture. From the return of popular late-night television hits and newly imagined web series to magical albums of the future, there’s much to keep you feeling engaged and refreshed.
Talk Therapy vs. Writing Workshops
A recent New York Times Magazine article, explored the rise of writing workshops amidst the rapid decline of talk therapy. There’s no doubt that writers often write in order to process major and minor events of their lives, as a way of downloading it all. There are many reasons for the rise of writing workshops as a type of therapy. For one, they're cheaper than a weekly visit to the analyst. Blog culture also lends itself to online confessionals and processing. Ultimately, writing workshops serve as an outlet for reflection, as does talk therapy…I wonder if one has to choose between the two.
In October 2008, a group of fame-obsessed Calabasas teenagers aptly titled “The Bling Ring,” began to burglarize the homes of many celebrities including Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Rachel Bilson. This twisted adventure skyrocketed those involved to celebrity-status. Alexis Neiers, a member of the “Ring” and star of the short-lived E! reality show “Pretty Wild,” remained in the spotlight through it all, particularly through her exposure in an infamous Vanity Fair article. Turns out, Sofia Coppola has decided to adapt this wild tale into a film (scheduled for release next year), starring Emma Watson, Leslie Mann and Kirsten Dunst. I can’t wait for it, if only to see Coppola’s take on the insanity.
AMC-hit "Mad Men" returned after a long, 17-month hiatus and ushered in 1965 with new changes both on emotional, physical and even house party levels. Following the "Mad Men" rebirth came an interactive Youtube video game in the guise of an old-school Nintendo game. The pixelated forms find Don, Peggy, Roger and Betty making critical decisions, while smoking, drinking and contemplating life. This whimsical homage still leaves me wondering (in the words of Roger Sterling), “When is everything going to get back to normal?”
Aziz Ansari ‘Buried Alive’
Last month, comedian Aziz Ansari announced that he would be embarking on a multi-city tour entitled “Buried Alive.” There’s something about Ansari that makes me both cringe and “aww,” in his particular style of stand-up, which often plays up his too cool for school, un-coolness. His “Parks and Recreation” character Tom Haverford keeps it so real, he’s become an internet phenomenon. It’s also nice to know that Ansari counts Kanye West as one of his biggest fans and friends. Unfortunately, his upcoming tour doesn’t include San Diego, but you can still “treat yoself” to his latest comedy special “Dangerously Delicious” (probably Kanye approved).
Under the moniker Youth Lagoon, twenty-two year old Trevor Powers has embarked on a dreamy, yet simultaneously eerie musical venture. His album “The Year of Hibernation” explores the angst and anxiety of being twenty-two and just being. There’s also a sense of nostalgia to both the album and the accompanying videos—rendered in blurred, sepia filters, the music video for “Montana” almost mirrors a moment from Terence Malick’s “The Tree of Life.” At only twenty-two, I can only imagine what else Powers has in store, but for now he’s just trying to figure it out like the rest of us. Don’t miss Youth Lagoon on Wednesday, April 11 at Porter’s Pub. NOTE: This show has been canceled and will be rescheduled.
Thought Catalog editor and writer, Ryan O’Connell, has long been a big hero of mine as every piece he writes on twenty-something misadventures and mistakes seem to ring true exactly in the moment I read it. It comes as no surprise then that his recent weekly web series offers an alternative take on his regular writing contributions. Rendered in the “Hot or Not” form, O’Connell provides witty Youtube channel-worthy commentary on Girl Scout Cookies, public breakdowns and "The Hunger Games," of which he is currently #notclearon.
Beach House ‘Bloom’
Baltimore dream-pop duo Beach House never fails to provide a haunting escape from reality with major hair to match. Their upcoming album “Bloom” isn’t due until May 15, but already (and not surprisingly) many tracks from the album have leaked. The first single “Myth,” features Victoria Legrand’s muffled and mystical vocals juxtaposed against Alex Scally’s sprawling guitar, providing a constant reminder of the healing powers of the group. Coincidentally, the last time I saw the band in San Francisco, I got a fever—I’ll blame it on an overpowering sensory overload, in the best possible way.
On a recent trip to my other home, San Francisco, I stumbled upon the latest special exhibition at the de Young, “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.” I wasn’t expecting much, except a few designs from the designer famous for creating Madonna’s iconic cone-bra. The Gaultier exhibit was something completely different, almost a mix of Disneyland’s “It’s a Small World” and a fashion show. All the mannequins came to life with animated expressions, which were projected onto their faces—Gaultier himself was even present in mannequin form, speaking French and all. After three hours spent in utter amazement, I didn’t want to leave the fantastical fashion hideaway. The show runs through August 19.
Indie-queen Parker Posey’s latest film “Price Check” premiered at Sundance this January and was noted for its low budget (under $1 million) and short shooting time (18 days). Alternatively, what struck me about the trailer for the film was just how much cray Parker Posey could still deliver in a seemingly dull environment of a corporate office. Posey plays a manic boss who drops in to turn a struggling corporation upside down (or right side up in her mind). With a string of crazy roles under her belt, I can’t help but wonder if Posey will finally deliver us from normal.
A few days ago, a tribute video to hip-hop icons Bone Thugs-N-Harmony emerged on the Internet, with a group of sassy pugs covering “1st Of Tha Month.” These seriously cute pugs are the ultimate fans, riding around in cars with “Pug Life” license plates. Sometimes it’s just the little things and some good word play that count.